Should You Expand Your Business Overseas?
- Apr 7, 2014
In an era where we are always connected and communicating around the globe, it’s harder to forget just how many potential customers there are in the world. So what’s stopping you from setting up shop across the globe and beginning a plan for world sales domination?
Odds are, if nothing is stopping you from that, something should be. Globalization is a major task to undergo, and for every ever-present multinational corporation, there are scores of others who flourished only on the local level either by design or by failing to capture an audience elsewhere.
So ask yourself: is globalization the right choice for my business?
Fulfilling your business’s manifest destiny
Targeting a global audience means getting your message out to more people that might not have otherwise known you exist. More visibility and a larger market to work with should yield positive growth, but it’s never a matter of simply setting up a storefront and waiting for the Euros, Yen, and Real to start pouring in.
Globalization is a long-term endeavor – one that requires a studying of overseas markets and determining which one has the most enticing opening for your product. You might find that Australia has no need for what you have to offer, and Sweden has a virtually identical company to yours, so expanding to those countries would be a waste of precious resources, profit, and time.
That same research, however, might yield that South Korea both doesn’t have the kind of product or service you deliver, but also would benefit greatly from access to it. Once you find the ideal location to launch, it just becomes a question of doing so.
It should be noted that the same process should be followed for each expansion as they come up. The more customers you have in a region, the more trustworthy and present your brand becomes there, so while China may not have been wise at first, a strong presence in Korea could open the door for continued success throughout Asia.
Laying the blueprint for a global business
What businesses are learning in the 21st century is that the key to a successful global business almost has less to do with what kinds of services or products it offers and more to do with the kind of reputation and trustworthiness it is known for.
According to the Reputation Institute, the current most trusted global brand is BMW, known for the performance of its luxury cars and the general stability of its industrial practices. As the Institute suggests, building such a reputation is a long process that can take years or decades, but success and practices at home often help to build traction abroad. This data is worth understanding because it shows that you cannot escape domestic mistakes by taking your business overseas.
Mistakes happen, however – especially the larger the entity responsible. Another example to look at is the Japan-based Sony, a company that less than 60 years ago was importing technology from the U.S. before becoming a global electronics juggernaut in the following decades.
Sony has had its fair share of criticisms to overcome, from the stigma of poor-quality products manufactured in Japan in the 1960’s to the security breach that affected PlayStation owners in 2012. Any number of these hurdles could topple a lesser company, but Sony remains stalwart in creating innovative, high-quality products that are must-owns in any home living room.
Every journey begins with a single step
If you are prepared to begin globalizing your brand, understand that it is not as simple as setting up a distributor in a foreign country or running an ad campaign abroad. Conduct meticulous research as to where your brand can find a natural fit and where your company culture and values will be recognized and celebrated.
Once you’re ready, prepare to embark on an expedition that will broaden your horizons and your consumer base for the better.
Sloan McKinney - Guest Contributor
Sloan McKinney is a motivated writer who enjoys researching and sharing what she knows about business globalization, which you can find more about on her blog. She believes that reaching an international market is a big step for any business, and it should be one that is carefully planned out.
Photo by: elemenous
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